The Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), MMC Ferdinando, has resigned, days after he told a Parliamentary committee that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had pressured Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to clear an Adani Group project in the island nation.

The senior Sri Lankan official subsequently withdrew the statement and apologised, after President Gotabaya himself “vehemently denied” it. The Minister of Power and Energy, Kanchana Wijesekera, said in a tweet Monday afternoon: “I have accepted the letter of resignation tendered to me by the CEB Chairman MMC Ferdinando. Vice Chairman Nalinda Ilangakoon will take over as the New Chairman CEB.”

The outgoing CEB Chairman’s remarks pertained to a renewable energy project that the CEB, in March 2022, agreed to execute with the Adani Group, in Mannar and Pooneryn in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province. The agreement was finalised about five months after Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani’s visit to Sri Lanka, when he met President Gotabaya and explored possible investments in the power and renewable energy sector. Draws attention in India

Ferdinando’s statement to the Committee on Public Enterprises, broadcast by a private television channel, has drawn attention not only in Sri Lanka, but also in India. In a tweet on Sunday, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi said: “BJP’s cronyism has now crossed Palk Strait and moved into Sri Lanka.”

Meanwhile, Champikas Ranawaka, Opposition lawmaker and a former Minister of Power and Energy, said the Adani Group had proposed a price of around 7.8 US cents per unit, close to double the market rate. Opposition MP Harsha De Silva, in a tweet, asked President Gotabaya to instruct his office to release the MOU signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and Adani Green to the public.